BT Vision kicks off bid to attract sports fans with agency hunt

BT has launched a comms hunt thought to be worth up to £3m as it prepares for a huge investment in sport to boost its struggling digital TV service.

Coup: BT has agreed a deal to screen live Premier League football (Credit: Getty Images)
Coup: BT has agreed a deal to screen live Premier League football (Credit: Getty Images)

PRWeek understands the telecoms giant has launched a multi-million-pound pitch process for pay-TV service BT Vision as it attempts to increase its below-target subscriber numbers.

The brief seeks to capitalise on BT’s £738m deal to screen Premier League football over the next three seasons and the 2013 launch of channels BT Sport 1 and 2, with a third sport channel rumoured to be in the pipeline.

BT Vision currently has around 750,000 subscribers, way off its launch target of three million by 2010 and a figure dwarfed by rivals BSkyB and Virgin Media, with around 11 million and 3.7 million TV subscribers respectively.

A senior agency source with knowledge of the brief said that sport would be positioned at the centre of the firm’s TV proposition, as part of a wider effort to draw in customers through bundles of broadband, TV, telephone and mobile by one provider.

It is thought that initial comms work will focus on the build-up and launch of the two channels – set to go live next summer – as well as promoting the channels for a further six months.

However, it is understood that a flexible brief means agencies will be free to pitch additional sponsorship and experiential ideas alongside consumer and sports activation work, with total fees potentially rising to £3m.

PRWeek understands that five agencies are currently battling for the business, with the winning agency reporting to BT Retail.

BT declined to comment on the pitch process. It is understood that the pitch will not affect BT Retail’s existing roster of Fishburn Hedges, Kazoo and Porter Novelli.

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